CTT | Humidity In Balance

Dry Facts for Airlines

The Extremely Dry Cabin Air is a diminishing factor for airlines with full-service ambitions. The dry air has always been a statutory condition forcing airlines to carefully adapt, elaborate and innovate with ingredients in order to create dishes and select wines and beverages that suffer less in-the-sky.

Many airlines are aware of the dry air setting the border conditions for the on-board-dining. Considered to be a law of nature, something to accept, many have invested and conducted studies to increase their know-how and learn how to cope with and how to innovate to minimize the sacrifices. For example, Singapore Airlines has built its own low pressure test kitchen and Lufthansa Sky Chefs did extensive low pressure chamber tests in 2010. And British Airways launched in 2011 “height cuisine” utilizing umami-rich ingredients.

In the cabin environment, the perception for flavors such as lemon grass, cardamom, curry and acidity are relatively higher. And the opposite goes for sugar and salt being lowered.

The Old-School Solution would be adding salt and sugar. The more innovative British Airways approach is adding umami-rich food. But all these efforts are with best-knowledge before the cabin humidification era.

Selecting premium wines is a challenging task with border conditions to find the ones with characteristics such as reduced acidity, less tannin, more residual sugar as well as more alcohol. Most airlines cooperate with wine sommeliers to select wines that are better off in the sky. The downside is of course all the wines that do not pass these rather harsh criteria’s.

At CTT, we think the best thing would not to be limited by dry air, and not to add anything unhealthy such as salt and sugar. At CTT, we think the best enabling ingredient is humidity!

As pointed out, passengers and crew suffer in the extremely dry cabin air environment. The importance of airline crew wellbeing perhaps never has been greater. With the ever so competitive landscape airline operations needs always to improve and get more and more efficient. Aircraft shall ideally have quick turn-around and be in the air all the time. Flights shall be frequent and to new destinations. The crew is important in this challenging operational puzzle.

Besides these ‘humanitarian aspects’, cabin interior and electrical interior, such as IFEs, are facing increased risks for static discharges and accelerated ageing of materials such as textiles, leather etc, due to the extremely low-RH in the cabin. Based on our feedback, airlines do experience a higher failure rate on electrical equipment in low-density cabins such as First Class, normally equipped with the most advanced, state-of-the art devices. Furthermore, it is rather obvious that accelerated ageing of cabin material, such fabrics and leather, hit premium cabin interior harder.